Tag Archives: introductory post

Rediscovering Radicalism

By Emily Groot

Radical ideas are often perceived as novel, but the beliefs underlying radical public health are not new.  For example, in a report on the 1847 typhus outbreak of Upper Silesia, German pathologist Rudolf Virchow proposed reforms ranging from agricultural improvements to tax restructuring to avoid future outbreaks (Taylor and Rieger, 2008; Waitzkin, 2006).  Virchow called diseases to which susceptibility was determined by socio-economic conditions, such as dysentery, measles, tuberculosis, and typhoid, “artificial diseases”.  He recognized that although the etiology of these diseases was bacterial, the spread of the disease was determined by wider social circumstances (Taylor and Rieger, 2008).

Virchow was one of the key persons to popularize social medicine, the practice of preventing disease and promoting health by addressing systemic socioeconomic inequalities (Taylor and Rieger, 2008).  Although social medicine shares many features with traditional public health, social medicine focuses on collective variables that have no individual measure (e.g., culture, class) while traditional public health often focuses on aggregate individual measures (e.g., cultural practices, income) (Waitzkin et al., 2001).

I consider the concept of social medicine to be a subset of the wider concept of radical public health.  The Social Medicine blog will explore issues of relevance to social medicine and attempt to rediscover the historical roots of radical public health.

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Introducing Citizen Sane

By Heather Lynn Groot

Why Citizen Sane?

While my predilection for puns has naturally influenced my choice in naming this blog, I can assure that my intentions do go deeper than mere wordplay. The film Citizen Kane is often regarded as a game changer for the film industry. I would like this website to help improve the model of public health in the same way, while at the same time providing an enjoyable way to consume and disseminate ideas for change.  In this sense, I use the word “sane” not to mean free of any illness of the mind, but rather as a qualifier for the way I hope to approach public health topics. I want to offer sober analysis of information and a healthy positive way for the public to access and understand the vast and often disparate news items, research, and opinions that make their way to the public eye, as well as help raise awareness and understanding of information that may not be as easily accessible or very enjoyable to read.  I want this to be an investigation, a discussion, and a platform to offer information on issues that affect the health of individuals and societies as a whole.  I am full of more questions than answers, and this blog is my attempt at answering my own questions about public health, as well as some of yours. Let’s dig into the data and become investigators of our health as a whole community.  There are many Rosebuds to discover.